Eating Disorders devastate the lives of more than 10 million people in the United States.  Although eating disorders primarily impact teenagers and young adult women, anyone can suffer from an eating disorder. Weight and food issues create intense emotions and behaviors that can be life-threatening to males and females. Eating disorders have a negative outcome on an individual’s quality of life in the area of self-image, completing important tasks, and maintaining relationships with important people in their lives. The longer the eating disorder continues, the harder it is to overcome.

Anorexia nervosa, bulimia, and binge eating are recognized as serious disorders. These eating disorders usually cause people shame making them isolate during their episodes. Psychological and emotional characteristics may make individuals liable to gain relief from their destructive eating habits. Biological and social factors may also play a part in the manifestation of the eating disorder. The signs and symptoms may differ from each disorder and their different stages, but they share a common peril of emotional triggers.

The physical effects of eating disorders are extremely hard on the body. Eating disorders can be hard to spot initially, but there are definite warning signs that be recognized to get an individual help.

Anorexia Nervosa

Low self-esteem, compulsive, obsessive, and perfectionism are commonalities in people with anorexia. Anorexics starve themselves as a means of control by using weight as their marker of control.

Physical Health Effects

  • Underweight
  • Emaciated
  • Protruding bones
  • Sunken face
  • Fatigue
  • Irregular menstrual cycles
  • Baby fine hair around face
  • Hair breakage, thinning, or excessive shedding
  • Brittle nails
  • Dizziness

Bulimia Nervosa

Bulimics will binge and purge food as a way to try and get rid of self-loathing and insecure feelings they experience. Purging can happen through exercise, laxatives, or making themselves throw up. Excessive vomiting has some negative effects on the body.

Physical Health Effects

  • Severe erosion and decay of teeth
  • Red and swollen gums
  • Sores in the throat and mouth
  • Inflammation of the esophagus
  • Swollen salivary glands
  • Loss of menstruation
  • Russell’s sign or “calloused and discolored fingers” from purging
  • Irregular bowels

Binge Eating

This disorder affects as many men as women. An individual will compulsively overeat in a short period of time. Most often they feel unable to control their eating despite guilty feelings or being full.

Physical Health Effects

  • Obesity
  • Type 2 Diabetes
  • Gallbladder disease
  • Digestive issue
  • Muscle and joint pain
  • Sleep Apnea
  • High blood pressure
  • High Cholesterol


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